I will visit the US for business but I have a problem about the driver's license. I'm a US citizen. But my family moved to Asia when I was 5 years old. So I grew up in Asia and I'm still living in Asia.

I have a driver's license from South Korea with my South Korean citizenship (I mean I have dual citizenship and I'm living now in South Korea as a citizen not as a foreigner).

But I can't use that license in the US because I have to use my US passport when I enter the US.

It means that I can't use my South Korean passport and driver's license. So, to drive in the US I have to get a US driver's license.

But, I'm living in Asia and have no address in the US.

How can I get a driver's license? Should I stay and renta house in the US or Guam?

  • Get an International Driving Permiy with your Korean licence.
    – dda
    Mar 16, 2018 at 17:10
  • @dda my international licence from korean licence will vaild in us when i enter us with my korea passport, but i have to us us licence when i enter us due to us law Mar 16, 2018 at 17:17
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    @ByonggonChun there is no US law requiring a US citizen to use a US license, and there is no US law forbidding a US citizen who resides in Korea and has a Korean license from driving in the US with that Korean license. Why would you think that such laws exist? Why would you think that the passport you use to enter a country has any bearing on the license you're allowed to use?
    – phoog
    Mar 16, 2018 at 19:25
  • @phoog, I can see how reading the information on some states' DMV pages might lead one to think there is some connection between one's driver's license and passport, though. Take, e.g., Georgia's page on the topic. I know the wording exists only because Georgia is keen to have their police check the immigration status of anyone who might be a foreigner for reasons unrelated to driving, but it would be easy to interpret that as saying the country of your passport needs to match the license.
    – Dennis
    Mar 16, 2018 at 23:44
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    @phoog, This part "Please note that in the case of a driver license issued by the driver's licensing authority of a foreign country, a law officer may consult such person's passport or visa to verify the validity of such license, if available." is all about driving with a foreign license, but also suggests the validity of that license is somehow dependent on one's passport. I can easily read this as suggesting that your passport has some bearing on the foreign license you are allowed to use since that is what it says.
    – Dennis
    Mar 17, 2018 at 6:13

1 Answer 1


But I can't use that license in the US because I have to use my US passport when I enter the US.

You can and should use that driver's license to drive in the US. All states generally allow out-of-state temporary visitors to drive using a driver's license issued by the place (another state or foreign country) where the person resides (which for you is South Korea). Some states may only allow certain foreign driver's licenses, and other allow all; check with the state to make sure, but South Korea will probably be included. Some states will also require an "International Driving Permit" or other permit issued by the state to be used along with the foreign driver's license; while other states don't.

Your citizenship and passport has nothing to do with it. You do not reside in the state, therefore you are a visitor, and you should use a license from the place you reside if such a license is accepted by the state. The facts that you are a US citizen and use a US passport to enter the US are irrelevant.

You cannot get a regular driver's license in any US state because you do not reside in that state. Generally states only allow you to apply for their driver's license if you reside there.

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    This is the correct answer. Mar 16, 2018 at 21:22
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    This is a weird nitpick (sorry!), but is it true that all states allow all foreign licenses? Some states (e.g. Wisconsin) seem to only accept foreign licenses (sometimes with an IDP required) issued by countries that are party to the "United Nations Convention on Road Traffic (Geneva, 1949) or the Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Motor Vehicle Traffic (Washington, D.C., 1943)." Which is a lot of countries, but not all. Other states seem to accept any foreign license. Mar 16, 2018 at 22:06
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    Texas also doesn't seem to accept licenses from every country. None of this matters to the OP from South Korea though, but I guess the main point is: check state law for the exact details. Mar 16, 2018 at 22:06
  • Even if your foreign license weren't accepted in a given US state (or Canadian province, or other jurisdiction), that doesn't mean you'd be allowed to get a local license. For example, here in Saskatchewan, Canada, you have to be a citizen or a legal resident, and have proof of domicile (rental agreement, proof of employment, proof of home ownership, etc.) to get a Saskatchewan driver's license. Merely visiting, even if a Canadian citizen, wouldn't be enough. Mar 17, 2018 at 17:30

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